Horror movie taglines are a bit of an art form in their own right. Just a quick line in order to intrigue the viewer into watching. It helps to build expectations, and are usually horrific themselves. Now not all movies live up to their tag lines, but here are a few of the best ones.
The Last House on the Left: “To Avoid fainting, keep repeating ‘It’s only a movie… It’s only a movie…’”
This tagline sets some pretty high expectations. Whether or not the movie lives up to it is debatable. However as a selling point, the idea that you would have to remind yourself it’s just a movie is very effective.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: “Who will survive and what will be left of them?”
While the tagline does imply that at least one person will survive the movie, it promises that they won’t really be whole. Whether it’s physically or mentally, whoever comes out on the other side of this movie will never be complete. It’s rather blunt and shocking.
The Thing: “Man is the warmest place to hide”
I actually think this tagline loses a bit of it’s luster once you’ve seen the movie. However as a selling point it’s solid. The implication of man being the warmest place to hide lets you know that man will be reduced to a hiding place in this movie.
Dawn of the Dead: “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth.”
This tagline earns it’s place because it’s become synonymous with the zombie genre overall. Whether or not people know the source of this quote, most people have heard it at one point or another. When you hear it you instantly think zombies. It’s fitting that the movie series that invented modern zombies, as we know them, would have a tagline that has become ingrained in us as well.
Alien: “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
One of the single most brilliant things about the original Alien is the isolation. It is a group of people, trapped, being hunted, with nowhere to go and hardly anything to do. The tagline speaks to that isolation. It doesn’t matter how much they “scream” they are alone.
Pet Sematary: “Sometimes dead is better”
The quote from the movie effectively sums up the experience. Without context you are left wondering about what option other than dead there is. Once you’ve seen it, you know indeed that sometimes dead is in fact better.
Halloween: “The night HE came home”
Who is HE? Why should we be worried about him coming home? What does HE plan to do? It grabs you and makes you curious. Once you’ve seen the movie it makes perfect sense with what you’ve just experienced.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: “If Nancy doesn’t wake up screaming, she won’t wake up at all…”
However you actually feel about the “fear factor” of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, they do tap into a primal thing. The idea that nightmares can kill you is pretty horrific. The tagline speaks to the fact that the movie is about sleep and fear being the thing that will get you.
Ravenous: “You are who you eat”
Extremely effective way to let people know “hey you are going to see a movie about cannibalism”.
Hellraiser: “He’ll tear your soul apart”
There is something extremely effective about the use of “soul” in this tagline. It fits with the movie, and it gets at the fear of it. The idea of the soul being destroyed is an extra level of fear.